LEAFLET NO: 638
Revised 9/94 -- Author Reviewed 4/96

LARGE TREES FOR NORTH CAROLINA

M.A. (Kim) Powell
Extension Horticultural Specialist
Department of Horticultural Science
North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service
North Carolina State University

Large trees are dominant features in the landscape. Many plans rely on trees for several design functions: to provide background, enclosure, define spaces, help reduce noise and unsightly views. Trees also provide needed shade, channel breezes, and break forceful winds. They also help the environment by filtering pollutants and exchanging oxygen for carbon dioxide.

When choosing trees, consider the growth rate and habit along with the overall form and texture of leaves and bark.

Properly selected and located trees can enhance the landscape setting and generally improve property values. Once growing, care should be excercised when working or playing around trees. Often, shade tree damage in the form of soil compaction, root damage, improper pruning, chemical and mechanical injury can cause irreversible harm to a tree. Remember, the tree's roots are found in the upper 12-15 inches of soil and can grow 40-50 percent beyond the drip line of a tree.


BOTANICAL NAME:  Acer floridanum
COMMON NAME:  FLORIDA MAPLE 
HARDINESS ZONE: 6,7,8 
GROUP:  D
GROWTH RATE: med-fast 
EXPOSURE:  sun      
TEXTURE: medium 
FORM:  oval
HEIGHT:  40-50'     
SPREAD:  20-25'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS: excellent shade tree and beautiful fall color 

BOTANICAL NAME:  Acer platanoides
COMMON NAME:  NORWAY MAPLE 
HARDINESS ZONE: 6,7,8 
GROUP:  D
GROWTH RATE: moderate
EXPOSURE:      sun
TEXTURE:  coarse
FORM:  dense-broad spreading branches
HEIGHT:  60-80'
SPREAD:  50-70'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS: "Crimson King" red-purple foliage
                                             
BOTANICAL NAME: Acer rubrum  
COMMON NAME:  RED MAPLE  
HARDINESS ZONE:  6,7,8
GROUP:  D
GROWTH RATE:  rapid
EXPOSURE:      sun/shade
TEXTURE:  medium
FORM:  symmetrical spreading branches
HEIGHT:  40-50'
SPREAD:  25-35'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS: beautiful habit and color "October Glory" - 
  scarlet foliage in fall     

BOTANICAL NAME:  Acer saccharinum
COMMON NAME:  SILVER MAPLE 
HARDINESS ZONE: 6,7,8 
GROUP:  D
GROWTH RATE:  rapid
EXPOSURE:      sun
TEXTURE:  medium
FORM:  upright open branches
HEIGHT:  60-80'
SPREAD:  50-75'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS: fast growing shade tree but noted for weak
  branches and shallow roots  

BOTANICAL NAME:  Acer saccharum
COMMON NAME: SUGAR MAPLE  
HARDINESS ZONE: 6,7 
GROUP:  D
GROWTH RATE: slow  
EXPOSURE:  sun or part shade  
TEXTURE:  medium-coarse
FORM:  round top
HEIGHT:  50-75
SPREAD:  30-40 
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  excellent landscape tree casts very dense 
  shade   

BOTANICAL NAME:  Carya illinoensis
COMMON NAME:  PECAN
HARDINESS ZONE: 6,7,8 
GROUP:  D
GROWTH RATE:  moderate
EXPOSURE:  sun or part shade  
TEXTURE:  medium
FORM:  irregular open branches
HEIGHT: 60-100' 
SPREAD:  30-50'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS: good shade tree for "edible" landscape
                                             
BOTANICAL NAME: Carya spp. 
COMMON NAME:  HICKORIES
HARDINESS ZONE: 6,7,8 
GROUP:  D
GROWTH RATE:  slow to moderate
EXPOSURE:      sun
TEXTURE:  medium
FORM:  spreading crown
HEIGHT:  60-100' 
SPREAD:  30-50' 
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  infrequently propagated in nurseries but grows 
  natively     

BOTANICAL NAME:  Catalpa bignonoides
COMMON NAME:  SOUTHERN CATALPA          
HARDINESS ZONE: 6,7,8  
GROUP:  D
GROWTH RATE:  rapid
EXPOSURE:      sun
TEXTURE:  coarse
FORM:  thick trunk, crooked branches
HEIGHT:  30-50'
SPREAD:  20-25'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS: long-lived untidy tree; interesting winter 
  habit; good habitat for fish bait     

BOTANICAL NAME:  Cedrus deodora
COMMON NAME:  DEODAR CEDAR 
HARDINESS ZONE:  6,7,8   
GROUP:  E
GROWTH RATE:  rapid 
EXPOSURE:  sun or part shade 
TEXTURE:  fine
FORM:  pyramidal pendelous branches
HEIGHT: 30-50`  
SPREAD: 20-30'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS: excellent screen tree for Piedmont; good 
  substitute for white pines  

BOTANICAL NAME: Cryptomeria japonica 
COMMON NAME:  JAPANESE CRYPTOMERIA 
HARDINESS ZONE:  6,7,8  
GROUP:  E
GROWTH RATE:  medium
EXPOSURE:      sun
TEXTURE:  fine
FORM:  narrow columnar
HEIGHT:  40-50' 
SPREAD:  10-20'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS: rich green foliage interesting bark 

BOTANICAL NAME: Cunninghamia lanceolata
COMMON NAME: CHINAFIR 
HARDINESS ZONE:  6,7,8
GROUP:  E
GROWTH RATE:  moderate to slow
EXPOSURE:  sun to shade  
TEXTURE:  medium
FORM:  pyramidal
HEIGHT:  50-60'
SPREAD:  20-25'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS: good green color during growing season; tends 
  to "brown out" inside as it matures   

BOTANICAL NAME:     x Cupressocyparis leylandi
COMMON NAME:  LEYLAND CYPRESS 
HARDINESS ZONE:  6,7,8   
GROUP:  E 
GROWTH RATE: rapid 
EXPOSURE:      sun
TEXTURE: medium 
FORM:  pyramidal
HEIGHT:  50-70'
SPREAD:  10-15'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS: fast growing can be size controlled, several 
  varieties - excellent screening plant 

BOTANICAL NAME:  Diospyrus virginiana
COMMON NAME:  PERSIMMON
HARDINESS ZONE: 6,7,8 
GROUP:  D
GROWTH RATE: slow 
EXPOSURE:  sun 
TEXTURE: coarse
FORM:  slender irregular
HEIGHT:  40-50'
SPREAD:  20-30'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS: very interesting bark-"edible landscape" plant     

BOTANICAL NAME: Fagus grandiflora 
COMMON NAME:  BEECH
HARDINESS ZONE:  6,7,8
GROUP:  D
GROWTH RATE:  slow
EXPOSURE:      sun
TEXTURE:  medium
FORM:  dense-low spreading
HEIGHT:  60-80'
SPREAD:  40-60'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  large tree with very dense shade; foliage 
  often remainson tree in winter

BOTANICAL NAME:  Fraxinus americana
COMMON NAME:   WHITE ASH 
HARDINESS ZONE: 6, 7 
GROUP:  D
GROWTH RATE:  rapid
EXPOSURE:      sun
TEXTURE:  medium
FORM:  broad rounded top
HEIGHT:  60-80'
SPREAD:  50-70'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS: tolerates adverse conditions"Autumn Purple"
   - good fall color     

BOTANICAL NAME: Ginkgo biloba 
COMMON NAME:  MAIDENHAIR TREE 
HARDINESS ZONE:  6,7,8 
GROUP:  D
GROWTH RATE:  slow
EXPOSURE:  sun 
TEXTURE:  medium
FORM: pyramidal but later rounded
HEIGHT:  40-70'
SPREAD:  20-40'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  plant male species of tree - very interesting 
  shape of foliage; leaves fall rapidly in fall   

BOTANICAL NAME:  Gelditsia triacanthos 
COMMON NAME:  HONEYLOCUST 
HARDINESS ZONE: 6,7,8 
GROUP:  D
GROWTH RATE:  moderate
EXPOSURE:      sun
TEXTURE:  fine- medium
FORM:  upright, open with maturity 
HEIGHT:  50-75'
SPREAD:  25-40'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  many thornless varieties available at 
  nurseries; excellent street tree 

BOTANICAL NAME: Juniperus virginiana 
COMMON NAME:  EASTERN RED CEDAR    
HARDINESS ZONE:  6,7,8
GROUP:  E
GROWTH RATE: moderate to rapid 
EXPOSURE:      sun
TEXTURE:  fine
FORM:  upright with spreading branches
HEIGHT:  30-40'
SPREAD:  10-20'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS: native evergreen-good for evergreen screening 
  interesting bark  

BOTANICAL NAME: Liquidambar styraciflua 
COMMON NAME:  SWEETGUM   
HARDINESS ZONE: 6,7,8 
GROUP:  D
GROWTH RATE:  slow
EXPOSURE:      sun or part shade
TEXTURE:  medium
FORM:  semi-conical
HEIGHT:  60-100'    
SPREAD:  50-75
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  excellent landscape tree but in a natural 
  area; fruit is a litter problem in lawn areas   

BOTANICAL NAME:  Liriodendron tulipifera
COMMON NAME: TULIP TREE 
HARDINESS ZONE: 6,7,8 
GROUP:  D
GROWTH RATE: moderate to rapid 
EXPOSURE: sun  
TEXTURE:  coarse
FORM:  cylindrical head
HEIGHT:  60-150'
SPREAD:  30-40'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  fast growing shade tree, branches are brittle     

BOTANICAL NAME:  Magnolia grandiflora   
COMMON NAME:  SOUTHERN MAGNOLIA 
HARDINESS ZONE:  7,8     
GROUP:  E
GROWTH RATE: moderate to rapid 
EXPOSURE:      sun or part shade
TEXTURE:  coarse
FORM:  symmetrical
HEIGHT:  40-60'
SPREAD:  25-30'     
LANDSCAPE REMARKS: should be planted where lower branches can grow   
  to ground    

BOTANICAL NAME:  Nyssa sylvatica 
COMMON NAME:  BLACK TUPELO-BLACK GUM
HARDINESS ZONE:  6,7,8
GROUP:  D
GROWTH RATE:  moderate
EXPOSURE:      sun or shade
TEXTURE:  medium
FORM:  open irregular width
HEIGHT:  40-60'
SPREAD:  20-30'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  spectacular red autumn color good native tree 
  for NC
                                             
BOTANICAL NAME:  Paulownia tomentosa
COMMON NAME:  EMPRESS TREE 
HARDINESS ZONE: 6,7,8 
GROUP:  D
GROWTH RATE:  rapid
EXPOSURE:      sun
TEXTURE:  coarse
FORM:  open crown, spreading  branches       
HEIGHT:  30-50'
SPREAD:  20-30'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  best used as accent tree
                                   
BOTANICAL NAME:  Pinus palustris 
COMMON NAME:  LONGLEAF PINE
HARDINESS ZONE: 7,8 
GROUP:  E
GROWTH RATE: rapid 
EXPOSURE:      sun
TEXTURE:  fine
FORM:  open rounded top, ascending branches
HEIGHT:  80-100'
SPREAD:  25-40'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  susceptible to ice and storm damage
                                        
BOTANICAL NAME:  Pinus strobus
COMMON NAME:     WHITE PINE                                 
HARDINESS ZONE:  6,7
GROUP:  E
GROWTH RATE:  moderate
EXPOSURE:      sun
TEXTURE:  fine
FORM:  pyramidal
HEIGHT:  80-100'
SPREAD:  30-40'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  good native tree for mountains, in lower 
  piedmont is marginal   

BOTANICAL NAME:  Pinus sylvestris  
COMMON NAME:   SCOTCH PINE    
HARDINESS ZONE: 6,7,8 
GROUP:  E
GROWTH RATE:  rapid
EXPOSURE:      sun
TEXTURE:  medium but later becomes more open
FORM:  pyramidal
HEIGHT:  40-70'
SPREAD:  15-30'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  good landscape form and color
                                             
BOTANICAL NAME:  Pinus taeda
COMMON NAME:  LOBLOLLY PINE   
HARDINESS ZONE:  6,7,8 
GROUP:  E
GROWTH RATE:  rapid 
EXPOSURE:  sun to part shade
TEXTURE:  fine
FORM:  horizontal with ascending branches         
HEIGHT:  70-90'
SPREAD:  30-40'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  good windbreak - tolerant of poor soils
                                   
BOTANICAL NAME:  Pistacia chinensis
COMMON NAME:   CHINESE PISTACHE
HARDINESS ZONE:  6,7,8
GROUP:  D
GROWTH RATE:  rapid
EXPOSURE:      sun
TEXTURE:  fine
FORM:  rounded
HEIGHT: 40-60' 
SPREAD:  15-30'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  brilliant fall color
                                             
BOTANICAL NAME:  Platanus occidentalis 
COMMON NAME: SYCAMORE
HARDINESS ZONE: 6,7,8
GROUP: D
GROWTH RATE:rapid
EXPOSURE:  sun to part shade
TEXTURE:  coarse
FORM:  broad branches open head    
HEIGHT:  70-100'
SPREAD:  60-80'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  good shade tree - leaves have a tendency to 
  drop all summer long   

BOTANICAL NAME:  Populus nigra
COMMON NAME:  LOMBARDY POPLAR
HARDINESS ZONE:  6,7,8
GROUP:  D
GROWTH RATE:  fast
EXPOSURE:      sun
TEXTURE:  medium
FORM:  upright-narrow    
HEIGHT:  40-70'
SPREAD:  10-12'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  fast growing-has many landscape problems - 
  short-lived  

BOTANICAL NAME:  Quercus alba
COMMON NAME:  WHITE OAK
HARDINESS ZONE: 6,7,8 
GROUP:  D
GROWTH RATE:  slow  
EXPOSURE:      sun to part shade
TEXTURE:  coarse medium
FORM:  broad head, thick trunk
HEIGHT:  80-100'
SPREAD:  50-80
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  slow growing but excellent for any landscape
                                             
BOTANICAL NAME:  Quercus coccinea  
COMMON NAME:  SCARLET OAK  
HARDINESS ZONE: 6,7,8 
GROUP:  D
GROWTH RATE:  rapid
EXPOSURE:      sun
TEXTURE:  coarse medium
FORM:  symmetrical round head 
HEIGHT: 60-80' 
SPREAD: 40-50 
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  good fall color-fast growing oak
                                        
BOTANICAL NAME:  Quercus nigra
COMMON NAME:   WATER OAK 
HARDINESS ZONE:  6,7,8
GROUP:  D
GROWTH RATE:  rapid
EXPOSURE:  sun to part shade  
TEXTURE:  medium
FORM:  broad-oval round top
HEIGHT:  50-75'     
SPREAD:  30-40
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  matures into large shade tree-yellowish fall 
  foliage 

BOTANICAL NAME:  Quercus palustris
COMMON NAME:  PIN OAK 
HARDINESS ZONE: 6,7,8 
GROUP:  D
GROWTH RATE:  rapid
EXPOSURE:  sun to part shade  
TEXTURE:  medium
FORM:  pyramidal low branches
HEIGHT:  60-80'
SPREAD:  40-50
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  holds leaves throughout  winter
                                             
BOTANICAL NAME:  Quercus phellos 
COMMON NAME:  WILLOW OAK
HARDINESS ZONE: 6,7,8 
GROUP:  D
GROWTH RATE:  moderate
EXPOSURE:      sun
TEXTURE:  fine
FORM:  conical in youth, develops rounded crown
HEIGHT:  60-80
SPREAD:  40-50 
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:       often referred to as "Pin Oak" because of 
  narrow leaves -this is incorrect
                              
BOTANICAL NAME:  Quercus virginiana
COMMON NAME:  LIVE OAK
HARDINESS ZONE:  7,8
GROUP:  E
GROWTH RATE:  slow
EXPOSURE:      sun to part shade   
TEXTURE:  medium
FORM:  wide spreading branches
HEIGHT:  30-50'
SPREAD:  50-80'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  excellent for coastal areas if protected from 
  salt spray
                                             
BOTANICAL NAME:  Salix babylonica  
COMMON NAME:  WEEPING WILLOW
HARDINESS ZONE:  6,7,8
GROUP:  D
GROWTH RATE:  rapid
EXPOSURE:      sun to part shade
TEXTURE:  fine
FORM:  slender-pendulous branches  
HEIGHT:  30-50' 
SPREAD:  20-40'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  much landscape interest, avoid planting near 
  sewers, water lines, etc.   

BOTANICAL NAME: Taxodium distichum 
COMMON NAME:   BALD CYPRESS 
HARDINESS ZONE: 6,7,8 
GROUP:  D
GROWTH RATE:  slow
EXPOSURE:      sun to part shade
TEXTURE:  fine
FORM:  pyramidal
HEIGHT:  50-100'
SPREAD:  20-30' 
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  good tree but not used very much-excellent 
  when planted near water

BOTANICAL NAME:  Tilia americana
COMMON NAME:  AMERICAN LINDEN
HARDINESS ZONE:  6,7,8
GROUP:  D
GROWTH RATE:  rapid
EXPOSURE:  sun to part shade  
TEXTURE:  medium
FORM:  broad rounded crown
HEIGHT:  60-75'
SPREAD:  45-60
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  useful as shade tree in urban areas
                                             
BOTANICAL NAME:  Tila cordata 
COMMON NAME:  LITTLELEAF LINDEN
HARDINESS ZONE:  6,7,8
GROUP:  D
GROWTH RATE:  rapid
EXPOSURE:      sun
TEXTURE:  medium
FORM:  pyramidal spreading branches
HEIGHT:  30-50' 
SPREAD:  25-40'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  excellent street tree - transplants easily
                                             
BOTANICAL NAME: Tsuga canadensis 
COMMON NAME:   CANADIAN HEMLOCK    
HARDINESS ZONE: 6,7 
GROUP:  E
GROWTH RATE:  rapid
EXPOSURE:  shade to part shade
TEXTURE:  fine
FORM:  pyramidal
HEIGHT:  30-80'
SPREAD:  15-30' 
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  excellent screen and prunes well   

BOTANICAL NAME:  Tsuga caroliniana
COMMON NAME:  CAROLINA HEMLOCK     
HARDINESS ZONE: 6,7 
GROUP:  E
GROWTH RATE:  rapid
EXPOSURE:      part shade
TEXTURE:  Fine
FORM:     pyramidal
HEIGHT:  30-70'
SPREAD:  20-25'     
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  creates good screen for shady areas     

BOTANICAL NAME:  Ulmus americana
COMMON NAME:  AMERICAN ELM         
HARDINESS ZONE:  6,7,8
GROUP:  D
GROWTH RATE:  slow
EXPOSURE:      sun
TEXTURE:  medium
FORM:  broad umbrella-like crown        
HEIGHT:  75-125'
SPREAD:  60-120'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  beautiful growth habit but Dutch Elm disease 
  limits use                                      

BOTANICAL NAME:  Zelkova serrata 
COMMON NAME:  JAPANESE ZELKOVA 
HARDINESS ZONE: 6,7,8 
GROUP:  D
GROWTH RATE:  moderate to rapid
EXPOSURE:      sun to part shade
TEXTURE:  medium to fine
FORM:  rounded head
HEIGHT:  50-60'
SPREAD:  40-50'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  good shade tree and tolerant to urban 
  conditions   

Published by
North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service


Distributed in furtherance of the Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914. Employment and program opportunities are offered to all people regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. North Carolina State University at Raleigh, North Carolina A&T State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local governments cooperating.